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From Google Earth to OnePlan: South Fayette’s Parks and Recreation Team’s Journey Planning Community Events

South Fayette Township’s Parks and Recreation team streamlined its event planning by switching to OnePlan’s accurate, user-friendly platform
Parks and Recreation department event plan at South Fayette Township
South Fayette Community Event


South Fayette Township, a Pennsylvania district of about 18,000 residents, is bustling with community events throughout the year. From Movies in the Park to the large South Fayette Community Day, there’s a great range of events that are organized. 

Paula Willis, Director of Parks and Recreation in South Fayette Township, Pennsylvania, manages the planning and execution of these events in various community parks and throughout the township. She tells us here about how much easier planning events now is thanks to OnePlan. 

Switching from non-specialist tools

Prior to using OnePlan, Paula’s planning process relied heavily on taking screenshots of Google Earth and putting those into Photoshop. Even though this was functional, these tools are not tailored to event planning needs and posed challenges regarding proportion accuracy. Paula recalls physically measuring spaces to imagine what the space would look like and if it would fit. 

“Before we used to go out with a little wheel measure and wonder what would this tent size look like in this space and will it fit? We’d actually have to spray paint it out to visualize it,” Paula says.  

South Fayette Community Event

Through a ‘Women in Parks and Recreation’ Facebook group, Paula discovered OnePlan.“I asked for something better for event planning and mapping, and someone recommended OnePlan,” she explains. 

Immediately it was a game-changer. Paula finds OnePlan intuitive and easy-to-use – an ideal solution for a local authority or council planning multiple events. 

And when she ran into some difficulties learning how to rotate her plan, Paula found the Help chat function in OnePlan useful. She says: “I couldn’t figure out how to rotate the view, so I started the instant Help chat and they let me know it was the two arrows at the top.” Resolving it immediately, Paula navigated the system better and ensured her planning process wasn’t hindered.

Delving Deeper into the Features the Parks and Recreation team uses:

Paula shared with us some of the key features in OnePlan that she and her team at the Parks and Recreation department at South Fayette Township benefit from.

Up-to-date satellite imagery for maps

When planning before, Paula found that some of the limiting factors were maps that weren’t regularly updated. This isn’t the case in OnePlan, where we use the latest maps provided from multiple sources

“For the longest time, Google Earth was really outdated for the park that all our events are in. We’ve had a lot of construction happening over the two years but when I was trying to screenshot Google Earth, it wasn’t there so I was having to mainly draw new parking lots in that were done last year,” says Paula.

She continues: “When I logged into OnePlan all the images were recently updated and all the new construction was there already. That was great!”

Every object placed to scale

With OnePlan’s to-scale maps, Paula effortlessly adds infrastructure elements like pre-set tent sizes or port-o-johns knowing they’ll fit precisely in the designated space.

“The proportion factor is huge. In Photoshop, I would do a big giant rectangle and have no idea what proportion it would be to the actual space. I love that in OnePlan everything going on to your plan is to scale,” she says.

Parks and Recreation department event plan at South Fayette Township

The assurance that what she designs in the planning phase will fit exactly on the map as on the event day has been invaluable. Gone are the days of approximations and last-minute adjustments.

Presentation Export

Paula uses OnePlan’s Presentation Export feature when seeking approvals or collaborating with partners. “I can share the exported version of my plan with everyone who needs to see it, which is a real benefit for everyone connected to the event.”

A presentation allows her to easily share her vision, making the review and feedback process straightforward. This feature allowed her to easily share plans with stakeholders, including the Public Works department and vendors for their booth location.

Subscription Flexibility

OnePlan’s flexible subscription plans, with the ability to pause during off-seasons without losing archived plans, have catered to South Fayette Township’s unique needs. Being located in Pennsylvania, they don’t have as many events in the winter as they do in the summer.  When they start preparing for the next season, Paula is able to un-pause her subscription to OnePlan and start planning.

A platform for successful events

Tools that simplify complex event planning are priceless. South Fayette Township’s experience with OnePlan illuminate just how game-changing the right software can be.

From precise, scale-accurate maps to impeccable Presentation Exports, OnePlan has become a helpful event planning tool for the Parks and Recreation Department. As they continue to host large events for the community, they’ve got OnePlan in hand, equipped to handle any challenge that comes their way.

Interested in trying out OnePlan for your government agency or council? Sign up now or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more. 

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